20 years of hard work is paying me now: Pankaj
Gangs of Wasseypur fame actor Pankaj Tripathi who bagged the special mention award at the 65th National Awards for his role of an army officer in Newton, is humbled with the love showered on him.
“Bees saal ki journey hai! Gaaon mein jab tha to sochata tha ki acting main kuch ho jaye. Kafi bahumulya hai yeh kyonki bahut sangharsh ke baad mila hai (It has been a 20 year long journey. Living in a village I used to think about doing something in the field of acting. It’s precious for me as I have got it after lot of struggle,” says the actor.
The actor, who belongs to a Belsand village about 30 kms from Gopalganj ahead of Gorakhpur, was in Lucknow to shoot for Anubhav Sinha’s film Abhi To Party Shuru Hui Hai.
“I studied till class 10 in my village which still does not have a puckka road. It’s still under construction. My parents are farmers. I go to my village every 3-4 four months and on Sunday again I am going there. They have no idea about my work. On reaching there I don dhoti-kurta and become a gramin (villager). Glamour of film industry does not affect me,” he says.
His father wanted him to be a doctor for which he went to Patna. “I went for preparations but it did not interest me at all. So, I started doing amateur theatre and then went to Delhi and underwent training at National School of Drama from 2001-04 and thereafter Mumbai,” he says.
The actor says it was like a 14-year ‘vanvaas’ (exile) for him and now people have started recognizing him.
“Audience noticed me in Gangs of Wasseypur. Before that I had done a lot of work but was not recognised much. I did a Yash Raj serial Powder in which I had a role of drug mafia. Its coming back on Netflix. I also did Dharam in 2007 which got for National Awards for best feature film on national integration. But, real recognition came from Sultan Qureshi of Wasseypur,” he says. Tripathi started playing baddie after it.
“Industry has a tendency of typecasting you after a popular role so I started getting same kasai (butcher)-types brutal roles. I was aware of this tag. But TC’s role in Masaan and teacher’s character in Nil Batey Sannata changed the scenario for me. Both films broke the villain’s image and I started getting all types of roles including comedy, serious and intense character. Now audience too expects some surprise from me,” he says.
In 2017 Tripathi had seven releases.
“All of them were critically acclaimed and different type of roles for me. I got mentioned for Newton but my favourite performance was one in Gurgaon. Fukrey, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Newton were commercially successfully too. Now, some good work is coming my way so life is in good zone. Dukan acchi chal rahi hai…so I am enjoying it.”
He is shooting his third film in Lucknow after Omkara and Bareilly Ki Barfi. In next few months he will be back in the city to shoot a biopic.